By now, “You only live once,” or its shorter, snappier version, “Yolo,” is familiar as something that jumps from the mouths of Millennials.
The original quote is from American actress Mae West: “You only live once; but if you do it right, once is enough.” Now the world’s most famous travel publishing house, Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd, channels that thinking into “You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us.” This oversized hardcover takes a different approach to travel planning. “The average person has a lifespan of threescore years and 10, give or take. And that’s a lot of pack in,” the book says.
Instead of suggesting destinations and explaining what you can do there, “You Only Live Once” is divided into the following chapters: An Hour, A Day, A Week, A Month and A Year. The Lonely Planet team of writers then suggests various things you can do within that specific amount of time in various places all over the world. So you could spend a minute watching penguins being born in Antarctica, an hour getting a Maori tattoo in New Zealand, a day riding a MiG-29 fighter jet in Russia, a week searching for the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, a month teaching English in Asia or a year going around the world through various means.
Lonely Planet’s suggestions are illustrated with bright, big photographs and dramatic art.
If you are an armchair traveler, then “You Only Live Once” is a vicarious explorer’s dream, but if you actually want to travel the world, then it provides a unique take on the act of traveling as exploration.
The book distills the Yolo idea into a call to action, something that could bring out the jetsetter or the backpacker in you. As “You Only Live Once” does not provide contact details for the suggested trips, the book is really more philosophical than practical, something designed to catch your eye and get you off the couch. It is great to look at and fun to read, even if you stay in your seat. But that would be beside the point. The book is a starting point, a kind of gateway drug for new travelers.
“Perhaps this book will be as useful in helping you identify obstacles as it will be for refining your month’s or your year’s travel experiences,” the book says. “Then it’s time to turn to Lonely Planet’s extensive travel resources and begin planning the rest of your life.”
Available from National Book Store.